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The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society

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Films // Coming up // The Handmaiden
19 June
Monday
7:30pm

The Handmaiden


Dir. Park Chan-wook | South Korea | 144 min | subtitles | 18
 
Young pickpocket Sook-hee is enlisted by Fujiwara, a suave con artist claiming to be a count, to work as a handmaiden for wealthy heiress Lady Hideko. Sequestered in a grand mansion by her pervy black-tongued uncle, Hideko is looking for a way out and Fujiwara expects Sook-hee to help him charm his way into the role of Hideko’s husband. But the plan is complicated when the haughty Mistress begins to fall for her new lady-in-waiting.
 
Inspired by Welsh writer Sarah Waters’ 2002 novel Fingersmith, The Handmaiden relocates the narrative from Victorian England to 1930s Korea, which is under Japanese colonial rule. This enables production designer Ryu Seong-hie to give full flower to her imagination, creating awe-inspiring sets rich with period detail, blending Japanese and British architecture.
 
Marking Park Chan-wook’s first Korean film after Stoker, The Handmaiden continues the theme of revenge so deliciously and obsessively explored in the director’s Vengeance trilogy. But here, the erotic is foregrounded, through immaculately composed images that imbue every object with a seductive energy, so that even a pair of gloves thrums with scintillating power. A foxy concoction of exquisite style and thrilling storytelling, The Handmaiden will leave you breathless.
 

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